Welcome to the September-in-review newsletter from Leah and Ezra, co-founders of Indivisible. We write these once-a-month emails to give you a sense of what we’re seeing in the Indivisible movement, and to get your thoughts on issues of the day. One quick book plug up top: if you want to help Indivisible’s upcoming book make it on the bestseller lists, you can preorder it here at an independent bookseller or here at Amazon. With that advertisement out of the way, let’s get to the newsletter:
What we’re reading
There’s only one thing everybody is reading and talking about here in D.C. right now: impeachment. Indivisible is now in full-on impeachment mode, and we’ll be covering all the twists and turns in the coming weeks.
But we don’t want to lose sight of how we got here. As we wrote in an email to you last week – Indivisible has been working for nearly two-and-a-half years to make impeachment happen. There are a few good articles out last week on the painstaking grassroots organizing that went into making last week’s events possible. The best we’ve seen so far is Ryan Grim’s Why the House Democratic Caucus Was Able to Move So Rapidly Toward Impeachment. This article by Chris Smith in Vanity Fair is also worth a quick read.
The bottom line takeaway is this: all of you who marched, called, canvassed, and organized over the past two years – make no mistake: last week is the result of your efforts. None of this would have been possible without that work.
The next steps for saving democracy
How do we impeach Trump? How do win the presidency? How do we take the House and Senate? How do we organize to do all of this, and then to demand changes to our democracy in 2021?
Well if you’ve got those questions, we’ve got answers. We Are Indivisible: A Blueprint for Democracy After Trump is DONE. Here’s a picture of us with the early printing (this is the version that goes to press before final hardcover printing).
This book was a labor of love. We talked with Indivisible groups all around the country to tell their stories, and draw out what turned out to be 19 “Indivisible Lessons” on organizing and wielding local power. We talked to political scientists and researchers about what ails our democracy and what we can do to fix it. This is a book about how we get rid of Trump and retake power – and it’s also about what should do with that power to defeat Trumpism writ large.
More than Halfway to the New York Times Bestseller List!
Why are we talking about the book so much? Well, the game here is getting on the New York Times and other bestseller lists. With that comes more book reviews, more attention, and more people joining Indivisible groups around the country. Every dime of royalties we get goes into Indivisible’s Save Democracy Fund – so that also means more money for, well, saving democracy.
It turns out the book publishing world is about as opaque as Congress, but if you want to dive into the nitty gritty of it, here’s a long explainer that matches up with what our publisher at Simon & Schuster told us. Here are the big takeaways:
- Bestseller lists matter. Making it on these lists boosts booksales by more than 50% for first-time authors (that’s us!)
- 5,000 is the target. We need at least 5,000 pre-orders + first week of book sales to make it on the list.
- Independent booksellers are better than Amazon. The New York Times doesn’t release exactly how it weights different sales, but it’s clear that independent book sales help even more than Amazon sales.
- Conservatives game the system. Mitt Romney required donors to spend $25,000 to $50,000 on copies of his book to get it on the bestseller lists. This seems to be a pretty common tactic.
We’re not gaming the system, so the only way to make it on the list is if enough Indivisibles preorder the book and/or buy it in the first week. As of yesterday, we have 2,560 pre-orders of the book. That means we need 2,440 to make it to 5,000. So, yes, we’re HALFWAY to the list a month before publication!
So, what does this all add up to in terms of action items for you if want to help get Indivisible a bestseller?
Yes, we are a little self-conscious about hawking the book so much – and we’re committed to not asking for money in these newsletters because we want you to actually read them. So if you’re sick of these books ads, you’re not alone, and just know that after publication we’ll drop it!
And last note: yes, there will be a book tour, and yes, we will be planning some virtual book tour events for those who can’t make it out in person. We’ll follow up with details soon!
Last month’s questions and a follow up
Last month we sent you just a general question about how these newsletters are going now that we’ve been doing them for a few months. On a scale of 1-5, our average grade was 4.5 – so about an A minus. Not bad! But we want to improve.
A few things people appreciated: we don’t ask for money in these (noted!); we keep these limited to only once per month; they “feel” personal (they are! We both really write them); and they give a national perspective.
There was also a fair amount of healthy constructive criticism! One piece of feedback is that these newsletters have focused on national issues, but there are many Indivisible groups are making a lot of headway on local issues, the focus. Another frequent response was a request for more information on particular topics – climate, gun violence prevention, administrative advocacy, or others. And another common concern is the length of these newsletters. Some folks wanted to know who the heck these Ezra and Leah people are – which is also reasonable!
So we’re taking all this in and thinking how best to adjust. We’d like to cover so much in these, and also we don’t want to send a War-and-Peace-length tome every month. So we might try to tackle some of the requests in different venues, like the monthly Facebook live we’ve started doing as well. Stay tuned – we’ll keep on trying to make these better!
Also, thank you to all of the Indivisibles who wrote such nice notes encouraging us. Indivisible Lambertville New Hope, Indivisible Northern Nevada, Indivisible Roanoke, Northern Door Indivisible in Wisconsin, and many many more – we see you, we hear you, and we love building this movement with you!
As for this month, we’ve got to ask about impeachment – it’s what’s on everybody’s mind, and we want to add your voice to the conversation. This isn’t a complex survey – just a quick opportunity to share how you’re feeling about impeachment, and what you’re prepared to do with your Indivisible group in the coming weeks.
Please provide your thoughts here.
In unimpeachable solidarity,
Ezra & Leah
Impeachment Progress Report September 2019